Cullinan Diamond

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Origin of name

The Cullinan diamond discovered accidentally in the Premier diamond mines of Transvaal, South Africa, on January 26th, 1905, had an enormous weight of 3,106 carats, making it the largest ever gem-quality rough diamond to be discovered in the world. The diamond was named after Sir Thomas Cullinan, the discoverer and owner of the Premier diamond mines, where mining activity began just three years before the record-breaking discovery.


3,106-carat Cullinan Rough Diamond

Characteristics of the diamond

The cutters of the Cullinan diamond, I. J. Asscher & Co. of Amsterdam, cleaved the enormous rough diamond into 9 large pieces and around 100 other smaller pieces, all of which were eventually cut and polished into different shapes and sizes of diamonds. The Characteristics of the 9 large diamonds are summarized in the table below.


The nine large pieces of the Cullinan rough diamond

Summary of characteristics of the nine largest Cullinan diamonds



Carat Weight Shape/Cut Present mountings of the diamond
1 Cullinan I 530.20 pear Mounted on the head of the Royal Scepter.
2 Cullinan II 317.40 cushion Mounted on the brow or band of the Imperial State Crown.
3 Cullinan III 94.40 pear Mounted on the finial of Queen Mary's Coronation Crown. Later combined with IV as a pendant brooch
4 Cullinan IV 63.60 cushion Originally set in the band of Queen Mary's Coronation Crown. Later combined with III as a pendant brooch
5 Cullinan V 18.80 pear Originally mounted in a brooch for Queen Mary, used singly or mounted as the centerpiece of the Delhi Durbar Stomacher. Later mounted on the circlet of her crown as replacement for the Koh-i-Noor.
6 Cullinan VI 11.50 marquise Originally mounted in the front cross-patee of Queen Alexandra's regal circlet. Later combined with the Cullinan VIII brooch by Queen Mary to form the Cullinan VI & VIII brooch. Sometimes the Cullinan VI & VIII brooch was linked to the Cullinan V brooch.
7 Cullinan VII 8.80 marquise Set as a negligee pendant to the Delhi Durbar emerald and diamond necklace. The shorter pendant incorporated Cullinan VII and the longer pendant a large pear-shaped emerald. Occasionally used as a pendant to the Cullinan VIII brooch, as an alternative to Cullinan VI
8 Cullinan VIII 6.80 cushion Mounted as the centerpiece of a radiating platinum mount, with smaller diamonds to form the Cullinan VIII brooch. Later combined with Cullinan VI to form the Cullinan VI & VIII brooch.Sometimes dismantled from the brooch and mounted as part of the Delhi Durbar Stomacher
9 Cullinan IX 4.39 pear Mounted in a platinum ring for Queen Mary and later inherited by Queen Elizabeth II. Worn only on a few occasions by both queens.


When the cutting of the Cullinan diamond was completed in 1908, the Cullinan I, also known as the Greater Star of Africa, with a weight of 530.20 carats, became the largest faceted diamond in the world. The Cullinan I held this rare distinction for a period of about 80 years, until the discovery of the 755-carat Golden Jubilee rough diamond in 1985, which was subsequently transformed into the 545.67-carat, cushion-shaped, fancy yellow brown diamond, the largest faceted diamond in the world.

Other notable distinctions held by the Cullinan I  diamond are the largest pear-shape faceted diamond in the world; the largest D-color faceted diamond in the world; and the largest D-color, pear-shaped, faceted diamond in the world. See table below, and rank order of famous diamonds greater than 100 carats in weight, under the sub-title Cullinan I towards the end of this web page.

List of famous colorless (white) diamonds greater than 100 carats in weight


Name Carat Weight


1 Cullinan I 530.20 pear

2 CullinanII 317.40 cushion

3 Centenary 273.85 modified heart

4 Jubilee 245.35 cushion

5 Millennium Star 203.04 pear

6 La Luna 200.07 heart

7 Orlov 189.62 rose

8 Jacob-Victoria 184.50 oval

9 Regent 140.64 cushion

10 Paragon 137.82 7-sided

11 Premier Rose 137.02 pear

12 Queen of Holland 135.92 cushion

13 Zale Light of Peace 130.27 Pear

14 Niarchos 128.25 Pear

15 Portuguese 127.02 asscher

16 Jonker 125.35 emerald

17 Al-Nader 115.83 pear

18 Taj-i-Mah 115.06 moghul

19 Edna Star 115.00 emerald

20 Koh-i-Nur 108.93 oval

21 Mouawad Magic 108.81 emerald

22 Cartier 107.07 pear

23 Star of Egypt 105.51 emerald

24 Mouawad Splendor 101.84 pear

25 Star of America 100.57 asscher

26 Star of Happiness 100.36 radiant

27 Star of the Season 100.10 pear


Please do not copy our tables without our permission. We may be compelled to inform the search engines if our content and tables are plagiarised.


Accidental discovery of the Cullinan rough diamond by Frederick Wells in 1905

The Cullinan diamond was discovered accidentally on January 26th, 1905, by the surface manager of the Premier diamond mines in Transvaal, South Africa, Mr. Frederick Wells, when he was on a routine inspection of the mine, late afternoon, on that particular day. Mr. Wells was about 18ft below the surface of the earth, when his attention was drawn by a shining object reflecting the last inclined rays of the setting sun, on the steep wall of the mine, a few feet above his head. Mr. Wells lost no time in scaling the wall and retrieving the shining object, which at first glance appeared to be a large diamond crystal.

The 3,106-carat Cullinan rough diamond turns out to be undisputed king of all rough diamonds in the history of mankind

The object was immediately taken for testing, and eventually turned out to be the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever discovered, weighing 3,106 carats. This unique distinction was previously held by the 995-carat Excelsior diamond for a period of 12 years, from 1893 to 1905. The rough diamond was named the "Cullinan diamond" in honor of the chairman of the company, Sir Thomas Major Cullinan.The 3,106-carat Cullinan rough diamond turned out to be the undisputed king of all rough diamonds in the history of mankind, and had been holding this position for the last 102 years. It is highly unlikely that any rival could appear, that could challenge the exalted position held by the Cullinan, in the future, unless new deposits of diamond are discovered in the world. See table below.


The rough Cullinan Diamond held by the mine superintendent, Frederick Wells.

List of largest gem-quality rough diamonds discovered in the world as at year 2011


Country of discovery Year of discovery Carat Weight Color


Cullinan South Africa 1905 3,106 Colorless/White 1
Excelsior South Africa 1893 995 Colorless /White 2
Star of Sierra Leone Sierra Leone 1972 969.80 Colorless/White 3
Incomparable Zaire 1984 890 Brownish-yellow 4
Great Mogul India 1650 787 Colorless/White 5
Millennium Star Zaire 1990 777 Colorless/White 6
Woyie River Sierra Leone 1945 770 Colorless/White 7
Golden Jubilee South Africa 1985 755 Yellowish-brown 8
President Vargas Brazil 1938 726.60 Colorless/White 9
Jonker South Africa 1934 726 Colorless/White 10
Jubilee-Reitz South Africa 1895 650.80 Colorless/White 11
Unnamed South Africa 1984 620.14
Sefadu Sierra Leone 1970 620 Colorless/White 13
Kimberley Octahedral South Africa 1964 616 Yellow 14
Lesotho Promise Lesotho 2006 603 Colorless/White 15
Lesotho Brown Lesotho 1967 601 Brown 16
Centenary South Africa 1986 599 Colorless/White 17
De Grisogono Central Africa Probably in the 1950s 587 Black 18
Letseng Star Lesotho 2011 553 Colorless/White 19
Unnamed Petra Diamond South Africa 2009 507 Colorless/White 20
Letseng Legacy Lesotho 2007 493 Colorless/White 21
Light of Letseng Lesotho 2008 478 Colorless/White 22
Jacob-Victoria South Africa 1884 457.50 Colorless/White 23
Zale light of peace Sierra Leone 1969 435 Colorless/white 24
De Beers South Africa 1888 428.50 Yellow 25
Niarchos South Africa 1954 426.50 Colorless/White 26


The discovery of the massive Cullinan diamond in 1905 provided a much-needed boost for further mining activities

The Premier diamond mine was discovered in the year 1898, by Sir Thomas Major Cullinan. After acquiring the Prinsloo family farm in which the kimberlite pipe was situated, in 1902, Sir Thomas Cullinan founded the Premier Diamond Mining Company Ltd. on December 1, 1902, and soon afterwards began exploratory mining activities, that revealed the existence of a huge funnel-shaped volcanic chimney, which outcropped on the surface, over a roughly pear-shaped area, about 80 acres in extent. Actual production at the Premier mine, by open-pit mining, began on April 24, 1903, and during the first two years of its operation, four large rough diamonds over 300 carats each, two rough diamonds between 200-300 carats each and sixteen rough diamonds between 100-200 carats each, were discovered. The massive Cullinan diamond was discovered two years after the mine began operations.This accidental and record-breaking discovery attracted international attention to the mines, providing a much-needed boost for further mining activity. In fact many diamond experts believed that the Cullinan was only a fragment of perhaps a larger diamond, and the remaining larger piece still awaited discovery. The prospect of finding the larger portion of the Cullinan stimulated the activities of miners and prospectors.


Sir Thomas Cullinan - Discoverer of the Premier diamond mine and founder of the Premier Diamond Mining Company Ltd.


Extensive open-pit mining at the Premier Diamond Mines before 1945

Above photograph - Circa 1918


Another photograph of the Premier Diamond Mine taken before 1923

The Cullinan rough diamond is purchased by the Transvaal Government and presented as a gift to King Edward VII as a token of gratitude for granting Transvaal its own constitution and to mark his 66th birthday

On an initiative taken by Louis Botha, premier of the Transvaal Colony, the Cullinan rough diamond was purchased from Sir Thomas Cullinan, by the Transvaal Government, for £150,000 and presented to the reigning British Monarch, King Edward VII, not only as a token of gratitude for granting Transvaal its own constitution, but also to mark the occasion of the Monarch's 66th birthday, which fell on November 9th, 1907. In the early 20th century transport of passengers and mail was mainly by ship, and as such transporting the priceless diamond to England, raised serious security concerns. An ingenuous plan was put in place that required the boarding by detectives of a London-bound steamer, purported to be carrying the Cullinan diamond. But this was only a diversionary tactic. In fact the stone on the ship was only a fake, meant for any daring thief. The actual diamond however, was sent to England in a plain box, via parcel post.


General Louis Botha - Prime Minister of Transvaal from 1907 - 1910


King Edward VII - King of the United Kingdom and the Emperor of India from 1901 to 1910

King Edward VII commissions I.J. Asscher & Co. of Amsterdam to undertake the cutting of the Cullinan rough diamond

King Edward commissioned the renowned diamond cutters of Amsterdam I. J. Asscher & Co. - who introduced a new diamond cut in 1902 called the Asscher-cut, also known as the square emerald-cut - to undertake the difficult task of cutting the Cullinan. The company had achieved credibility by cutting the Excelsior diamond in 1904, the world's largest rough diamond, before the discovery of the Cullinan diamond in 1905.

The stone was subjected to careful examination before the actual cutting. One of those who examined the Cullinan was Sir. William Crookes, who was astounded by it's remarkable clarity, but at the same time reported of a black spot in the midddle, around which the colors were very vivid, and changed as the analyzer was turned. This phenomenon according to Sir Williams was caused by severe internal strain, which is not uncommon for diamonds. Instances have been reported when diamonds have exploded when reaching the surface or sometimes in the pockets of miners due to body warmth, all attributed to internal strain.

The Cullinan rough diamond was cleaved into nine larger pieces and around 100 smaller pieces, all of which were cut and polished into finished diamonds of different shapes and sizes

The cutting of the Cullinan began on February 10th, 1908. The diamond was first cleaved along a pre-planned axis, by Mr. Asscher himself, who initially made an incision about half an inch deep. to accommodate the blade of a specially designed knife, which was followed by a heavy blow on the knife. The diamond split into two sections as expected. this was followed by a second cleavage in the same direction, producing three principal sections. Each of the sections were subjected to further cleavage, producing altogether nine large pieces. Around a 100 other smaller pieces were also produced. Faceting and polishing of the pieces then began, the shape of the cut being decided according to the dimensions of each piece. When the whole process was finally completed, there were nine major gems, and 96 smaller brilliants.


Joseph Asscher dealing the first blow that split the Cullinan rough diamond into two


Relpicas of the nine Cullinan satellite diamonds

Photograph above,under GNU Free Licence

Cullinan I - The Greater Star of Africa


Cullinan I - The Star of Africa

The Cullinan I, aka the Greater Star of Africa , is the largest of the Cullinan diamonds, with a pear-shaped cut and weighing 530.20 carats. This was the largest faceted diamond in the world, until the discovery of the Golden Jubilee diamond, also from the premier mine in 1985. However, it still remains the largest, D-color, faceted diamond in the world. The dimensions of the diamond are 58.9 x 45.4 x 27.7 mm. The stone has a total of 76 facets.

Presently, the Cullinan I diamond is the second largest faceted diamond in the world; The largest faceted, D-color diamond in the world; The largest pear-cut/pear-shaped diamond in the world; and the largest D-color, pear-shaped diamond in the world.  See table below :-

List of Famous Diamonds Greater than 100 carats in weight arranged in descending order of weights


Name carat weight shape/cut


1 Golden Jubilee 545.67 cushion fancy yellow-brown
2 Cullinan I 530.20 pear colorless/white
3 Unnamed Black Diamond 489.07 rectangular-cut black
4 Incomparable 407.48 shield shaped fancy brownish yellow
5 Cullinan II 317.40 cushion colorless/white
6 Spirit of de Grisogono 312.24 old moghul-cut black
7 Centenary 273.85 modified-heart colorless/white
8 Oppenheimer 253.70 natural octahedral yellow
9 Jubilee 245.35 cushion colorless/white
10 De Beers 234.65 cushion light yellow
11 Red Cross 205.07 cushion canary yellow
12 Millennium Star 203.04 pear colorless/white
13 Unnamed 200.87 pear yellow
14 La Luna 200.07 heart-shaped colorless/white
15 Orlov 189.62 rose-cut colorless/white
16 Darya-i-Nur 186 table-cut light pink
17 Jacob-Victoria 184.50 oval colorless/white
18 Moon 183 round pale yellow
19 Unnamed 180.85 briolette yellow
20 Star of Peace 170.49 pear brownish-yellow
21 Table of Islam 160.18 emerald-cut black
22 Unnamed 150.00 emerald yellow
23 Regent 140.64 cushion colorless/white
24 Paragon 137.82 7-sided colorless/white
25 Florentine 137.27 double rose-cut light yellow
26 Premier Rose 137.02 pear colorless/white
27 Algeiba Star 135.03 square-brilliant yellow
28 Sarah 132.43 cushion fancy vivid yellow
29 Golden Hue 132.42 cushion yellow
30 Tiffany Yellow 128.54


canary yellow
31 Star of the South 128.48 cushion fancy light pinkish-brown
32 Niarchos 128.25 pear colorless/white
33 Portuguese 127.02 asscher colorless/white
34 Jonker 125.35 emerald colorless/white
35 Stewart 123.00 round-brilliant yellow
36 Delaire Sunrise 118.08 square emerald-cut fancy vivid yellow
37 Meister 118.00 cushion yellow
38 Vainer Briolette 116.60 briolette fancy light yellow
39 Hope of Africa 115.91 cushion fancy vivid yellow
40 Al-Nader 115.83 pear colorless/white
41 Gruosi Diamond 115.34 heart-shaped black
42 Taj-i-Mah 115.06 moghul-cut colorless/white
43 Edna Star 115.0 emerald colorless/white
44 Unnamed 114.64 briolette yellow
45 Unnamed 114.03 cushion yellow
46 Mouna 112.50 cushion fancy intense yellow
47 African Yellow 112.00
48 Earth Star 111.59 pear brown
49 Cross of Asia 109.26 radiant light brown
50 Koh-i-Noor 108.93 oval colorless/white
51 Mouawad Magic 108.81 emerald colorless/white
52 Anon 108.04 emerald yellow
53 Rojtman 107.46 cushion yellow
54 Cartier 107.07 pear colorless/white
55 Golden Sun 105.54 emerald yellow
56 Star of Egypt 105.51 emerald colorless/white
57 Golden Door 104.95 pear yellow
58 Geat Chrysanthemum 104.61 pear fancy brown
59 Graff Constellation 102.79 round brilliant colorless/white
60 Ashberg 102.48 cushion dark orange yellow/amber
61 Mouawad Splendour 101.84 pear colorless/white
62 The Alnatt 101.29 cushion fancy vivid yellow
63 The Golden Star 101.28 cushion fancy vivid yellow
64 Star of America 100.57 asscher colorless/white
65 Sunrise 100.52 emerald yellow
66 Star of Happiness 100.36 radiant colorless/white
67 Star of the Season 100.10 pear colorless/white
68 Graff Vivid Yellow 100.09 cushion fancy vivid yellow




Cullinan I diamond - Star of Africa

On the orders of King Edward VII, the Cullinan I was mounted on the head of the Royal Scepter, and it is now on display in the Tower of London.


The Royal Scepter of Great Britain

© Her Majesty the Queen of England.

Cullinan II - The Lesser Star of Africa

The Cullinan II, aka the lesser Star of Africa is the second largest Cullinan diamond, with a cushion shape, weighing 317.4 carats. It is the fifth largest faceted diamond in the world;  the second largest, D-color, faceted diamond in the world; the second largest cushion-cut diamond in the world; and the largest cushion-cut, D-color diamond in the world.


The Cullinan II Diamond - The Lesser Star of Africa

The Cullinan II has been mounted on the brow or band of the Imperial State Crown of Great Britain, which also features other notable precious stones such as St. Edwards Sapphire, the Stuart Sapphire and the Black Princess Ruby. It is also on display in the Tower of London, with the other Crown Jewels.


The Cushion-cut Cullinan II mounted on the band of the Imperial State Crown of Great Britain

© Her Majesty the Queen of England.

Cullinan III

The Cullinan III weighing 94.40 carats has a pear-shaped cut and is mounted in the finial of Queen Mary's (Queen consort of King George V) Crown, but when required Cullinan III could be combined with Cullinan IV to form a pendant-brooch, and most of Queen Mary's portraits show her wearing this combination. Queen Elizabeth II, the present British Monarch, also uses the two diamonds in the same way.


94.40-carat, pear-shaped Cullinan III diamond


Queen Mary's 1911 Coronation Crown with its finial mounted with a replica of the pear-shaped Cullinan III and the band mounted in front with a replica of the cushion-shaped Cullinan IV diamonds

Queen Mary's Crown was commissioned by Queen Mary, consort of King George V, from the Crown Jewellers, Garrard & Co, for her coronation that was held on June 22, 1911. Apart from the Cullinan III and IV that was mounted on the finial and band of the crown respectively, another famous diamond the Koh-i-Noor was also incorporated in the crown as the centerpiece of  the front cross-patee. After the coronation, the  three large diamonds, the Koh-i-Noor, the Cullinan III and Cullinan IV were replaced with quartz crystal replicas, and the jewels used in alternative settings. Cullinan III & IV were combined together to form a pendan- brooch, that became a favorable piece of jewelry of the of Queen Mary, who became famous  for superbly bejeweling herself for formal events. 


Cullinan III & IV combined together as a pendant-brooch


Queen Mary of Teck wearing the combined Cullinan iii and iv pendant-brooch

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who inherited most of the fabulous jewelry collection of Queen Mary after her death in 1953, also used Cullinan iii and iv combined as a pendant brooch, and fondly referred to these diamonds as "Granny's Chips." The Queen had worn this pendant brooch on several occasions, and the most recent occasion she was seen wearing it was during Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in 2012.


Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Cullinan iii and iv pendant brooch


Another occasion Her Majesty the Queen was seen wearing "Granny's Chips"

Her majesty the queen wearing 'Grannys chips" during diamond jubilee celebrations

Her Majesty the Queen wearing "Granny's Chips" during her Diamond Jubilee celebrations held in 2012

Cullinan IV

The Cullinan IV, with a cushion-cut weighs 63.60 carats, and like the Cullinan III was originally mounted on Queen Mary's Crown, but as stated above, subsequently dismantled and combined with Cullinan III to form a pendant brooch.


The 63.60-carat Cullinan IV diamond

Cullinan V

The Cullinan V, with a triangular pear-cut or heart-shaped cut, weighs 18.80 carats, and also had a dual use, one as a piece of jewelry, mounted in a brooch or as the detachable center of the emerald and diamond stomacher of the Delhi Durbar Parure designed in 1911 for Queen Mary  and the other to be worn in the circlet of her crown, as a replacement for the Koh-i-Noor.

This was after the Koh-i-Noor was removed to be mounted on a new crown for Elizabeth (Queen Mother), the Duchess of York after her husband George VI's accession to the throne, upon the abdication of Edward VIII, on December 11, 1936.


Cullinan V brooch

In the Cullinan V brooch, the heart-shaped, 18.80-carat Cullinan V diamond is mounted on a fine radiating platinum web, with a scrolling millegrain and pave-set border of brilliant diamonds.


Queen Mary wearing the Delhi Durbar Parure stomacher incorporating Cullinan V as the centerpiece


Delhi Durbar Parure Stomacher incorporating Cullinan V brooch as centerpiece


Queen Elizabeth wearing the Cullinan V brooch during a visit to Tuvalu (Ellice Islands) in Polynesia

Cullinan VI

The Cullinan VI is a marquise-cut stone, with a weight of 11.50 carats. King Edward VII purchased the diamond from Asschers and presented it to his Queen consort, Queen Alexandra, as a personal gift. Queen Alexandra got the Cullinan VI mounted in the front cross patee of her regal circlet. 

Cullinan VI was inherited by Queen Mary after Queen Alexandra's death in 1925.The fashion-conscious Queen Mary decided that the ideal setting for the marquise-cut Cullinan VI diamond was as a pendant to the radiating platinum mount incorporating the 6.8-carat, emerald-cut Cullinan VIII diamond as its centerpiece, designed by the Crown Jewelers Garrards in 1911. The combination came to be christened as the Cullinan VI & VIII Brooch.


Cullinan VI & VIII Brooch

However, the mounting of Cullinan VIII, like the Cullinan V was adaptable, and could be worn as part of the Delhi Durbar stomacher or linked to the Cullinan V brooch. Cullinan VI & VIII were inherited by Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, after the death of Queen Mary.


Queen Mary wearing the Delhi Durbar stomacher incorporating the Cullinan V & VIII


Delhi Durbar stomacher incorporating the Cullinan V and VIII brooches


Queen Elizabeth wearing the Cullinan VI and VIII brooch during an official visit to Sudan in 1964


Queen Elizabeth wearing the Cullinan VI & VIII brooch during an official visit to Jamaica in 2002

Cullinan VII

The Cullinan VII is also a marquise-cut stone, weighing 8.80 carats. The permanent setting of the Cullinan VII is as an asymmetrical pendant to the Delhi Durbar Necklace, a negligee pendant necklace, in which the longer pendant terminates in a pear-shaped emerald, larger in size than the marquise-cut Cullinan VII. The Delhi Durbar Necklace is one of the six components of the Cambridge and Delhi Durbar Parure, designed and crafted by the crown jewelers Garrard's in anticipation of the coronation of King George V and Queen Mary on June 22, 1911, and their subsequent proclamation as the Emperor and Empress of India, at a special Durbar organized for this purpose in Delhi, on December 12, 1911.


Delhi Durbar Necklace incorporating Cullinan VII and a pear-shaped emerald as negligee pendants

In the negligee pendant the marquise-cut Cullinan VII is suspended by a shorter detachable chain pave-set with ten graduated brilliant diamonds. The longer chain suspending the pear-shaped emerald is pave-set with 12 graduated brilliant diamonds. Apart from the large pear-shaped emerald in the longer pendant, the necklace also incorporates 8 other Cambridge emeralds, originally owned by Queen Mary's grandmother, the Duchess of Cambridge. The necklace consists of a double platinum chain pave-set with 94 smaller brilliant-cut diamonds. The eight cabochon-cut emeralds are set alternating with six large brilliant-cut diamonds.on the double platinum chain. The two emeralds on the median line of the chain, the centerpiece of the necklace and the clasp behind, are cushion-shaped, cabochon-cut emeralds. Emeralds of similar size and shape are placed on symmetrical positions on either side of the median line of the necklace. These emeralds are oval-shaped, cabochon-cut stones. Each of the emeralds on the necklace is surrounded by a single layer of small brilliant-cut diamonds.

The Delhi Durbar Necklace was a favorite piece of Queen Mary and she wore it usually with other components of the Delhi Durbar Parure.

Queen Mary wearing the Delhi Durbar Parure including the Delhi Durbar Necklace incorporating the marquise-cut Cullinan VII


Queen Mary wearing the Delhi Durbar Parure that includes the Delhi Durbar necklace


Queen Elizabeth II inherited the Delhi Durbar Necklace and the other components of the Delhi Durbar Parure, after Queen Mary's death in 1953. The Delhi Durbar Necklace became Queen Elizabeth's emerald necklace of choice and she usually wore it with the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara when the pearl drops were interchanged with emeralds. The marquise-cut Cullinan VII diamond had remained largely in its original setting, the Delhi Durbar Necklace, except occasionally when it was used as a pendant to the Cullinan VIII brooch, as an alternative to the larger marquise-cut Cullinan VI. However, such occasions had been very rare, and considering the numerous occasions the necklace had been worn by the queen, the Cullinan VII is perhaps the only Cullinan diamond seen by the public on more occasions than any other Cullinan diamonds.


Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara and the Delhi Durbar Necklace


Another occasion Queen Elizabeth II was seen wearing the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara and the Delhi Durbar Necklace


More recent occasion when Queen Elizabeth was seen wearing the Vladimir Tiara and Delhi Durbar Necklace combination


A rare occasion when Queen Elizabeth II was seen wearing the Delhi Durbar Necklace without the Vladimir Tiara

Cullinan VIII

Cullinan VIII is an emerald-cut diamond weighing 6.8 carats. In 1911, Garrards set the Cullinan VIII on a radiating platinum mount, similar in style to the Cullinan V brooch. Subsequently in 1925, the marquise-cut, 11.50-carat Cullinan VI was added as a pendant to the brooch, and the combination came to be known as the Cullinan VI and VIII brooch. However, Cullinan VIII could also be dismounted from its brooch and mounted as part of the Delhi Durbar Stomacher or linked to the Cullinan V brooch.


Cullinan VIII brooch designed by Garrard in 1911


Emerald-cut Cullinan VIII diamond

Even though the Cullinan VIII is usually described as an emerald-cut diamond, the long rectangular facets and step-cut characteristic of the emerald-cut is not found in the Cullinan VIII. The diamond appears to be mixed-cut diamond with a rectangular shape and not a conventional emerald-cut diamond.


Queen Mary wearing Cullinan VI and VIII brooch linked to Cullinan V brooch


Cullinan VI and VIII brooch linked to Cullinan V brooch

Cullinan IX

Out of the nine numbered Cullinan diamonds the smallest is the Cullinan IX, with a pear-shape and weighing 4.4 carats. The cut employed on the diamond is a pear-shaped modification of the round brilliant-cut known as the pendeloque.The Cullinan IX was set in a platinum ring for Queen Mary by Garrards in 1911


Cullinan IX diamond set in a diamond ring

Like the Cullinan VII set in the Delhi Durbar Necklace, the Cullinan IX had also remained permanently in its original setting in the platinum ring. However, the Cullinan IX platinum ring appears to be the least used of the Cullinan diamonds, and in fact both Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth had worn the ring only on a few occasions. Queen Elizabeth inherited the ring from Queen Mary in 1953. 

Two of the larger Cullinan diamonds - Cullinan I & II - are an important component of the British Crown Jewels, mounted respectively on the Royal Scepter and the Imperial State Crown of Great Britain and are on display at the Tower of London, with the other Crown Jewels. The remaining Cullinan diamonds are the personal property of Queen Elizabeth II and were inherited from Queen Mary, her grandmother and the Queen consort of King George V.

You are welcome to discuss this post/related topics with Dr Shihaan and other experts from around the world in our FORUMS (

Back to Famous Diamonds

Related :-

1) Excelsior Diamond

2) Blue Empress Diamond

3) Cambridge and Delhi Dunbar Parure

External Links :-

References :-

1) The Queen's Diamonds - by Hugh Roberts

2) The Queen's Jewels. The Personal Collection of Elizabeth II - by Leslie Field

3) The Blue Empress Diamond -

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